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Visa, Mastercard, AmEx to start out categorizing gun shop sales

NY (AP) Payment processor Visa Inc. said Saturday that it plans to start out separately categorizing sales at gun shops, a significant win for gun control advocates who say it can help better track suspicious surges of gun sales that may be a prelude to a mass shooting.

However the decision by Visa, the worlds largest payment processor, will probably provoke the ire of gun rights advocates and gun lobbyists, who’ve argued that categorizing gun sales would unfairly flag a business when most sales usually do not result in mass shootings. It joins Mastercard and American Express, which also said they intend to progress with categorizing gun shop sales.

Visa said it could adopt the International Organization for Standardizations new merchant code for gun sales, that was announced on Friday. Until Friday, gun store sales were considered general merchandise.

Following ISOs decision to determine a fresh merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network relative to our long-standing rules, the payment processor said in a statement.

Visas adoption is significant because the largest payment network, sufficient reason for Mastercard and AmeEx, will probably put strain on the banks because the card issuers to look at the standard aswell. Visa acts as a middleman between merchants and banks, and it’ll depend on banks to choose whether they allows sales at gun stores to occur on the issued cards.

Gun control advocates had gained significant wins with this front in recent weeks. NEW YORK officials and pension funds had pressured the ISO and banks to look at this code.

Two of the countrys largest public pension funds, in California and NY, have already been pressing the countrys largest charge card firms to determine sales codes designed for firearm-related sales which could flag suspicious purchases or even more easily trace how guns and ammunition can be purchased.

Merchant category codes now exist for nearly every sort of purchase, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops and several other retailers.

Once you buy an airfare ticket or purchase your groceries, your charge card company includes a special code for all those retailers. Its just good sense that people have exactly the same policies set up for gun and ammunition stores, said NEW YORK Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who blames the proliferation of guns for his citys deadly violence.

The citys comptroller, Brad Lander, said it made moral and financial sense as an instrument to rebel against gun violence.

Unfortunately, the credit card issuers have didn’t support this simple, practical, potentially lifesaving tool. Enough time has come to allow them to achieve this, Lander said recently, before Visa among others had adopted the move.

Lander is really a trustee of the brand new York City Employees Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System which together own 667,200 shares in American Express valued at approximately $92.49 million; 1.1 million shares in MasterCard valued at approximately $347.59 million; and 1.85 million shares in Visa valued at approximately $363.86 million.

The pension funds and gun control advocates argue that developing a merchant category code for standalone firearm and ammunition stores could assist in the battle against gun violence. Weekly prior to the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died following a shooter opened fire in 2016, the assailant used bank cards to buy a lot more than $26,000 worth of guns and ammunition, including purchases at a stand-alone gun retailer.

Gun rights advocates argue that tracking sales at gun stores would unfairly target legal gun purchases, since merchant codes just track the kind of merchant where in fact the credit or debit card can be used, not the specific items purchased. A sale of a gun safe, worth thousands and something considered section of responsible gun ownership, could possibly be regarded as a only a large purchase at a gun shop.

The (industrys) decision to produce a firearm specific code is only a capitulation to anti-gun politicians and activists bent on eroding the rights of law-abiding Americans one transaction at the same time, said Lars Dalseide, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

Through the years, public pension funds purchased their extensive investment portfolios to influence public policy and the marketplace place.

The California teachers fund, the next largest pension fund in the united kingdom, has long taken aim on the gun industry. It has divested its holdings from gun manufacturers and contains sought to persuade some retailers from selling guns.

Four years back, the teachers fund made guns an integral initiative. It needed criminal background checks and called on retailers monitor irregularities at the idea of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory regularly, also to proactively assist police.


Associated Press writer Bobby Calvan in NY contributed to the report.

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